The N500 million Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Loan Support have been disbursed to beneficiaries in Oyo State.
The state government began the disbursement of the loan on Sunday under the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery initiative
The state’s Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Musibau Babatunde, who also doubles as the chairman of the SAfER Small and Medium Enterprises sub-committee, led members of the sub-committee on a monitoring and evaluation visit to participating microfinance banks and some beneficiaries of the loan in Ibadan, Oyo and Ogbomoso zones of the state.
Babatunde explained that under the loan scheme, N500 million was disbursed to partnering Microfinance Banks across the seven zones of the state “to support and boost SME, which is the baseline for economic activities in the state and to bring succour to the residents during this economic hardship.
“SAfER as introduced by Governor Makinde has proved to be a master stroke towards helping individuals and households in the state become stronger financially. The Federal Government removed the subsidy for gasoline products and also unified the exchange rate and that led to the devaluation of the Naira.
“These two policy shocks actually affected the general price level, as inflation shot up; and the exchange rate of the naira to the major currencies in the world depreciated to a very large extent.
“The interest rate was increased to stabilise inflation and as a result of that, an economic crisis ensued and it has affected the people of the state especially business owners. Makinde, in his wisdom, felt that there was the need to make a conscious attempt to actually help and enhance the activities of small and micro enterprises in the state. This was how the SME Pillar under the SAfER programme came about.”
Prof. Babatunde further explained that the monitoring visit was to enable the committee to assess the level of operations of the microfinance banks and their compliance with the operational framework guiding the disbursements of loan to the beneficiaries, since the state government had disbursed the loans in three tranches to the participating banks.
Also speaking, the state Director-General of Investment and Public Private Partnership Agency, Olatilewa Folami, said the state under the governor would always come up with poverty alleviation programmes that are impactful to support small and micro enterprises.
In Ibadan zone, the Managing Director, Nigeria Union of Teachers Oke-Bola Microfinance Bank, Ibadan, Paul Adu, who is also the coordinator for the seven participating banks across the state, lauded the good initiative of the government.
Similarly, the Chief Operating Officer, Full Range Microfinance Bank Limited, Adamasigba, Ibadan, said the loan support was viable towards alleviating poverty, creating jobs and boosting businesses, adding that the loan scheme is not propaganda as insinuated by some people.
Meanwhile, some of the beneficiaries have commended the governor for his problem-solving approach through the loan support, which according to them; has brought about a positive turnaround in their businesses.
In their separate reactions from Ibadan zones, Foluke Akinpelu, an event planner, who got a loan of N1,000,000; Adedayo Adenuga, a caterer and Adetunji Adeoye a barber/entrepreneur who got loan sums of N500,000 and N250,000 respectively, appreciated Makinde for the timely intervention.
Also, Rukayat Ayesoro from Oyo zone, who accessed N1,000,000 for her business, appealed to the government to reduce the interest rate in the subsequent programme, while a farmer from Ogbomoso zone, Michael Adewale, who got N750,000, also thanked the government for the opportunity.